Well the season is winding down and I don’t know if I am going to get another course in this year. I thought this would be a good time to discuss the golf swing and write about the true facts of trying to hit the golf ball. A couple of blogs ago I wrote about what not to waste your time on. After over 40 years of studying the golf swing, I am going to discuss the absolute truths about playing this game. In this blog I am going to list them with a brief comment and then in future blogs I will discuss each one in more detail. One “The swing is not the thing” If you don’t believe that one then I suggest you watch any PGA tour event. Some of the swings on tour could make your eyes water and yet these guys are carving out huge sums of money and having great careers. From Lee Trevino to Jim Furyk to Paul Goydos, and on and on, the exact way you swing the club can be very diverse. Two” 85 to 90% of all golf problems happen before you take your swing”. The top 3 problems I see in teaching people to play this game is poor aiming, standing too far away from the ball and a poor grip. There are other ones but these are the top three. Briefly on aiming, when I ask 10 students to aim at a target about 100 yards away, 8 will be aimed 8 to 10 yards right of the target, one will be aimed left of the target and one will be aimed at the target. Now to the swing itself. There is only one thing you must do in order to have an efficient golf swing. All the strange swings on the tour do this. Three”On the downswing your belly buttom must pass the ball before your hands and arms do”. Sounds easy enough but here is the problem. Your belly button moves like it is in a school zone, 10 to 15 miles an hour. Your hands and arms move like they are on I 70, at 70 to 80 miles an hour. The golfer usually over uses his legs and under uses his upper body on the backswing. The reverse is true on the downswing. He under uses his legs and over uses his upper body in “hitting” the ball. That is a big key to the answer. How do you keep the hands and arms from passing the belly button to soon? The fourth fact in trying to learn this game is, there are only 2 senses that you can use in the learning process. One can feel a golf swing and you can see a golf swing. You can not smell taste or hear a golf swing. Is there an answer out there, maybe. Is there one part of your body that can control the entire golf swing? I don’t know, we will see. My instructor put it the best way and I quote the Babe. “Control the body, control the clubhead and you will control golf ball.
Today we went to the Links at Spring Church in Apollo Pa which is about a 55 minute drive. This course is about 15 to 20 years old and is one of those courses that I put under the heading of fake links course. This is a design that removes most of the trees from the course, lets a lot of weeds grow up around various parts of the course, calls it heather and thinks this has something to do with being a links course. This course had delusions of grandeur when it first opened, charged as much as 55 dollars on the weekend, did not give much of a break during the week, and went the way most of these courses did, that tried to do this, into reorganization. Today the course is a little more reasonable and with the fall rate we played for 25 with a cart. Today they had the tees up and it played about 6200 yards and from the tips will play about 6500 yards. From the blue tees they changed two par 5’s into longer par 4’s so from the blues the par is 70 and from the whites the par is 72. Essentially they changed two interesting par 5’s into 2 longer boring par 4’s. Go figure. The overall design of the course is good with many interesting holes but the greens have never been really that good and today they were plugged and half sanded and ran a 4 on the stimp. Needless to say this course is not worth the trip, at least until they become more rate friendly. The hot dog at the turn was fair and we did have a beautiful day to play. My swing thing as I will call it from now on, is still working quite well. Even though I got off to a slow start I was able to shoot even on the back for a 76 and Pete shot a very nice 78 and would have done better on better greens. I don’t know how long the weather will hold up but maybe I will get a few more in before years end. Sixty two down with twenty eight to go.
Today, finally got to course number 61, Timber Ridge which is about a 65 to 70 minute drive in Mount Pleasant Pa. It was pretty windy today and very chilly to start but as the day wore on the sun came out and it got a little warmer. I had never played this course before and it was a unique golf course. The course plays 6300 yards from the back tees was in pretty good shape for the time of year as the greens were smooth and ran about a 5 on the stimp. The greens were the most sloping and undulating greens I have ever played. They were not very big but at least 13 to 14 greens had severe slopes from front to back or from side to side. On one 9 foot putt I had as much as 3.5 to 4 feet of break from left to right. The course is hilly and many holes are tree lined but the course is not super tight. The course has one hole the 13th that is a 650 yard par 5 which is one of the longest par 5’s I have ever played. The course plays to a par of 72 and overall was interesting and challenging, especially with those greens. I would hate to see them running even a 7 on the stimp. Playing this golf course you would learn the value of keeping the ball below the hole. Since yours truly did not know the extent of the slopes on many of these greens I did find myself in some very difficult putting positions. Despite that I managed to shoot a 5 over 77 with 5 bogeys and no birdies. There was no hot dog at the turn since the course was not very busy in the windy conditions. This will be a course I will be wanting to play again, just to see it in more golf like weather. I can not say that this course is worth the trip but still a very enjoyable course to play with lots of interesting holes. My own game is coming along quite nicely at the moment as I think this new thing I am doing may be the real deal. Or it could be that swing number 318 will be just as disappointing as swing no. 1. Sixty one down with twenty nine to go.